The average University student spends countless hours every day on a computer, whether in class, the library or around campus. Everyone can relate to attempting to do homework, only to abandon productivity for shameless Facebooking. But how often do University students consider who insures the ability to safely access the Internet and its many sources of procrastination? Technology extends beyond required password changes and Tech Desk visits to the important issue of information security.
Information security involves preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing private information and harming technological networks. In the case of the University, this would mean defending the Bucknell Network from people unassociated with the University, as well as from potential threats such as viruses. Although relatively unpublicized among the student body, the University takes these possible threats seriously and upholds strong information security standards.
“Information security is a critical part of every Bucknellian’s electronic life,” Eric Smith, the University’s chief information security officer (CISO), said. “Think for a moment about how many systems, either on the Bucknell Network or out on the Internet, hold data or provide services which are critical to your ability to complete your academic work, keep in touch with friends or check your bank account. What would happen if you were to lose access to these resources? How would you be affected if key information, such as a private Facebook chat or your social security number, were to become public? The results could be disastrous. The CISO role was established in order to develop systems, policies and procedures to insure that your digital Bucknell identity remains safe and secure.”
Smith is not only in charge of information security at the University but has recently accepted a joint appointment position with Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. and Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. This position allows for collaboration among the three institutions and provides an opportunity for greater knowledge and understanding about the importance of information security. The exchange of effective practices and strategies for maintaining safe technology has the potential to positively impact many individuals, including the University community.
The next time you Skype with your best friends during their semester abroad or pull an all-nighter writing that never ending research paper, consider the importance of information security and those who work to maintain the University’s technological protection.